Corvallis, Ore. -- In their first fall scrimmage of the 2021 football season, the Oregon State defense shined. In a way that maybe even the players and coaches weren't expecting. Behind an unimpeachable performance by the secondary, the Beavers intercepted every quarterback on the OSU depth chart at least once and returned two of those picks for touchdowns. Cornerback Jaden Robinson had two of those interceptions while linebacker Jack Colletto housed one early in the 11-on-11 team period.
"I honestly felt that was the fastest I've seen the defense play across the board," said Colletto after the scrimmge. "The ones, twos, threes...everybody. And to see that early in camp and if we can build off that it's gonna only set the tone for the rest of the season."
In the 2020 season, Oregon State only had seven team takeaways so this preseason there has been an emphasis on more ball hawking behavior.
"It was nice to see the ball get taken away defensively," head coach Jonathan Smith said. "That's something we've approached as a program from last yer, we gotta create some more turnovers. That took place. Again I thought the back and forth of tackling and executing offensively at times. Good, physical play so I liked a lot."
The Beavers offense had small flashes, especially in the red zone periods towards the end of practice. Tristan Gebbia and Sam Vidlak each threw touchdown passes during that portion of the scrimmage while Sam Noyer and Chance Nolan connected on some throws. Deshaun Fenwick appeared to get the majority of the run with the first team at the running back position. But the quarterback battle is as murky as ever, with each player showing small flashes but nothing to separate themselves from each other.
"Through the first week [Gebbia and Noyer] had gotten the opportunity to go with the first and second group first," said Smith. "But you saw Chance get in there a little bit and Sam is coming along so no decisions yet."
The Beavers will have another scrimmage on Saturday, August 21st before entering their game week against Purdue.